Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tygard's Top Financial Backers: Will Big Campaign Money Usher Stranglehold Growth Should He Win?

The roster of top 20 financial donors on at-Large candidate Charlie Tygard's latest disclosure forms weighs heavily to the growth side of development against sustainability and infrastructure:
  • Gaylord PAC (Convention industry) -- $1,000
  • John Coleman Hayes (Developer, John Coleman Hayes Construction Co.) -- $1,000
  • Al McKinney (Engineer, Concord Group) -- $1,000
  • Sid Smith (Engineer, Smith, Seckman, & Reid) -- $1,000
  • Carl Neuhoff (Accountant, Hostettler, Neuhoff, & Davis Real Estate Brokers) -- $1,000
  • Lee Beaman (Auto Sales, Beaman Automotive) -- $1,000
  • Kelley Beaman (Auto Sales, Homemaker) -- $1,000
  • Ann Fussell (Homemaker) -- $1,000
  • Sandra Lee (Homemaker) -- $1,000
  • Mary Jones (Realtor, Jones Realty) -- $1,000
  • William Freeman (Developer, Freeman Webb) -- $750
  • Julia Whitson (Homemaker) -- $750
  • Mary McGrath (N/A) -- $650
  • Greater Nashville Area Realtors PAC -- $500
  • Colin Reed (Business Exec., Gaylord) -- $500
  • Cecil Branstetter (Attorney, Branstetter, Stanch, & Jennings) -- $500
  • Dewey Branstetter (Attorney, Branstetter, Stanch & Jennings) -- $500
  • James Webb, III (Developer, Freeman Webb) -- $500
  • Kevin Estes (Engineer, Dale and Associates*) -- $500
  • Mack McClung (Developer, Vastland Realty) --$500
That's a lot of money collected from a number of growth industry bosses from April 2007 to June 2007 (approximately 90% of Mr. Tygard's total of $24,770 in contributions collected during that period are from donors giving over $100). Not included in this list are two other engineers and one other Realty PAC which each gave at least $200 to the Tygard campaign.

Mr. Tygard's past voting record seems to lack any balance between growth and infrastructure, and yet there is nothing in his financial disclosure forms that should lead us to believe that he would govern with any more balance in an at-Large seat. He would seem to be beholden to big money and untrammeled growth, which could hurt neighborhood sustainability and the influence of neighborhood associations on local politics.

*Dale and Associates engineered the controversial water retention tank at the Schoene Ansicht development in Salemtown. That tank is set to funnel run-off from the property into a lower-lying alley and an adjoining property (as of this date no crown has been put on the alley as recommended to the UP, LLC ownership group in order to divert the run-off). Schoene Ansicht is a neighborhood symbol of growth running roughshod over sustainability and infrastructure when money becomes more important than people.


  1. It should be noted that Cecil Branstetter owns a large amount of undeveloped land in West Bellevue. From what I understand, he is actively involved in selling/developing much of this land. It should also be noted that his son-in-law, Don Johnson, is running for the 35th Council District and that many of his campaign signs are conspicuously located near "For Sell" signs on Brandstetter properties. Don Johnson is a building contractor who has received financial backing for his campaign from several local developers, including those developers who attempted to put a landfill in Bellevue. Who do you think he is going to answer to if he is elected to office?

  2. Charlie also received donations from Al Ganier during this campaign cycle. Al Ganier is due to be tried on Federal obstruction of justice charges next month. Charlie accepted these donations from Ganier after his indictment. In addition, Mr. Ganier's indictment was reported on television and in print, so Charlie should have been very aware of this man's legal (and likely ethical) problems. What does that say about Charlie's ethics?

  3. There is no record of contributions from Mr. Ganier from April to June of this year, but I do have a post coming on contributions from earlier reports.

  4. It should also be noted that Mr. Johnson, while he professes to honor the Subarea 6 Zoning Plan that is supposed to map out the community's future vision for Bellevue (which came about under a badly skewed process, the outcome tightly controlled by developers interests), he thinks nothing of petitioning the Zoning Board to change the zoning for higher density for the properties he is developing. As our Councilman, it would just be more of Pave Paradise. People like Charlie and Don don't know how to respond to constituent concerns. As they represent only the developers interests, they don't deserve to have a seat on the Council.

  5. Based on my review of Charlie's records, Ganier donated to his campaign in 6/05 (as listed on his 1/28/06 report) and in 11/06 (as listed on his 1/15/07 report). Both of these donations were for the August 2, 2007 election and were made after Mr. Ganier was indicted.

  6. Charlie TyGard if left to his own devices would have developed Bellevue into the ground. He and Crafton are close buddies. It's been a darak time on the west side...